Undeterred by the string of deadly horrors that might have paused another president in campaign mode, Trump is stumping relentlessly in a late push to save the GOP House and Senate majorities, using rallies and Twitter to stoke fear over a group of migrants nearly 1,000 miles from the US border while boosting false claims from Republican candidates about their efforts to tear up one of Obamacare’s most popular features.
Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to show support for the community after a gunman killed 11 congregants at a synagogue in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history. On Wednesday, he kicks of a swing of 11 rallies in six days.
Operatives in both parties and nonpartisan analysts have coalesced around a view that Republicans appear likely to benefit from a favorable map and keep control of the Senate, perhaps even padding their majority. But the GOP’s grip on the House is slipping. After two years of unified Republican rule, the Democratic Party’s base is rallying around a crop of first time candidates and now has a variety of potential paths to winning the 23 seats they need to regain a measure of control on Capitol Hill.
Trump has said that he shouldn’t be blamed for a Republican midterm wipeout, but his travel schedule this week — and the $22 million in transfers his re-election campaign has made to the Republican National Committee this cycle — suggests he knows better. That even beyond pride, he has a lot to lose on Election Day. A “blue wave” on November 6 would immediately sink Trump’s more ambitious political plans while exposing his administration to the kind of oversight Republican lawmakers have largely forsaken.
“I’m not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket because this is also a referendum about me,” Trump said at a rally earlier this month in Mississippi. “I want you to vote. Pretend I’m on the ballot.”

Republicans triage in House races

Democratic House candidates are entering the stretch run with momentum — in the polls and the bank. Fundraising numbers, especially from small dollar donors, are through the roof. Grassroots liberal groups are organizing new and increasingly sophisticated mass voter drives. From the House to the governor’s mansions in Florida and Georgia, offices held for a generation by Republicans are now considered either toss-ups or leaning in favor of Democratic challengers. GOP campaign arms are using the last few days before the election to shore up or rescue those old strongholds, while Democrats are pressing their advantage in places like Orange County, California, a series of suburban districts around Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, and a trio of flippable Iowa congressional districts.
Outside Richmond in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which Trump won by more than six percentage points in 2016, the Tea Party representative who ousted former House Republican majority leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary is now stuck in a dead heat with Democrat Abigail Spanberger. Rep. Dave Brat, who was on the short end of one the season’s most viral moments when Spanberger lashed out at him at the end of a debate for misleading voters about her positions, has been outraised by the former CIA operative by a 2-to-1 margin.
And Brat might be one of the lucky ones.
He still has the backing of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the outside group aligned with retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan. But both the CLF and the National Republican Congressional Committee are in triage mode as Election Day nears. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Pennsylvania Rep. Keith Rothfus, Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder are among a growing collection of Republicans who have been discussed as lost causes — an acknowledgment from national GOP leaders that there are some seats the party cannot hold.
Where Donald Trump is going in the last week of the 2018 campaign -- and why

But the Democrats are not without headaches of their own, particularly in the battle for Senate control. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, whose popularity took a hit even after the corruption charges against him were dismissed in January, is now clinging to a narrower-than-expected lead in the polls over big-spending Republican challenger Bob Hugin. National Democrats are now sinking millions of dollars into a race that should have been a given — money that might have otherwise been earmarked for endangered incumbents in states Trump didn’t lose by 14 percentage points in 2016.
Red states like North Dakota, where incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has consistently trailed her Republican opponent in polling. But also in closer contests, where Democrats like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly are trying to cut against the grain and win over voters who broke decisively for Trump in 2016. Republicans have made those senators’ no votes against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a major issue in the final weeks of the campaign in hopes of ginning up their base.
If Democrats fail to take control of the Senate, any Supreme Court vacancy in 2019 or 2020 would likely be filled by Trump.

Trump’s closing message

As varied as the campaigns and candidates may be, nearly all of the most competitive races of 2018 have been linked by a common thread: Democratic pledges to expand health care coverage and protect popular programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while putting a check on Trump’s power.
The GOP message has been more varied but has mostly followed the President’s lead: a smorgasbord of fear-mongering over immigration; outright lies or misdirection when it comes to the party’s efforts to endanger protections for people with pre-existing conditions as part of their push to unwind Obamacare; and more general warnings that Democratic victories in November would empower a liberal “mob.” With seven days to go and Trump planning nearly a dozen rallies in that time, the list still has room to grow.
The Republicans’ scattershot approach was on full display Monday morning, as Trump veered from an attack on the media, calling an African American Democratic candidate a “thief” and continuing an escalating barrage of inciting claims about “the caravan” — a group of migrants whose movements have become a catch-all for his anti-immigrant messaging.
“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!,” he tweeted.
Trump is also reportedly considering a speech on immigration this week to further gin up his base — and drive them to the polls. And just days ahead of the elections, Trump ordered 5,200 troops and some military equipment to the southern border to, ostensibly, confront a group of migrants still 900 miles and weeks away from the US.
Democrats, meanwhile, say Trump’s incendiary rhetoric could further alienate moderate Republicans — particularly women in the suburbs.
Republicans' health care strategy for the midterms: Fear and misdirection

Republicans' health care strategy for the midterms: Fear and misdirection

“Our President even tried to tie terrorists from the Middle East with the caravan. It’s like bringing up all of these buzzwords that stir up a frenzy in their base,” said Kim Schrier, the Democratic congressional candidate in Washington’s toss-up 8th District race — a contest where spending has topped $25 million — in an interview Sunday after a speech to dozens of her campaign’s volunteers in the suburbs of Seattle.
“We all teach our kids that we’re better than this,” Schrier said. “That kind of rhetoric is unacceptable, and I’m hoping it brings a lot of those people out, saying, ‘No. We don’t tolerate this divisiveness and whipping up a frenzy.'”
The prospect of a Democratic House majority putting a check on Trump, she said, has resonated with suburban Republican women.
“I think a lot of them voted somewhat reluctantly for our President and would like to see some brakes on the rhetoric,” Schrier said.
Trump will hit those nasty notes, live and in-person, at a series of rallies this week, which are currently scheduled for Florida, Missouri and West Virginia. Another stop, in Montana, could also be added to the itinerary.
His visit to Fort Myers, Florida, on Wednesday will mark his first time in the state since the arrest of Cesar Sayoc Jr., an ardent Trump supporter who allegedly targeted leading Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, former intelligence officials and the news media with a series of mail bombs.
The rally will feature gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, who’s in a tight race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. On Monday morning, Trump offered a preview of what’s in store for the week when he called Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democrat vying to become the state’s first African American governor, “a thief.” The comment sparked an instant backlash from Democrats, including billionaire donor Tom Steyer’s group, which described the attack as “another racist dog-whistle meant to stir up his base because he knows DeSantis is behind.” (Gillum led DeSantis by double-digits in a recent CNN poll.)
In October alone, Trump has visited 16 states — Tennessee, Mississippi, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana and Illinois — for political rallies.
And even as Democrats have sought to localize many of the key races in 2018 by largely ignoring Trump in paid ads, a number of campaigns and state parties have brought in some of the party’s biggest national names to boost candidates in close or high-profile races make their closing arguments to voters.
In just the last weekend, around a dozen rumored 2020 Democratic presidential players made appearances in key states.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this weekend concluded a 9-day, 9-state swing in California. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been up and down the trail, stumping in New Hampshire this weekend while former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rallied Democrats in South Carolina. Former President Barack Obama headlined events in Wisconsin and Michigan on Friday, while former Vice President Joe Biden stumped with Democrats in Connecticut ahead of his first 2018 trip to Iowa on Tuesday. California Sen. Kamala Harris has been making the rounds in Florida.
“We cannot look up ten days from now and have any regrets about what we could have done,” Harris said to a group of Gillum supporters on Sunday. Someone interrupted her. She had the number wrong. Harris turned a wry smile and corrected herself: “I’m losing track,” she said. “See, that’s even fewer days to get out there!”
Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will accompany the President and the First Lady, CNN has learned.
They will make the trip three days after a heavily-armed shooter stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood during Sabbath services, killing 11 congregants. Six others were injured, including four police officers, authorities said.
They also will make the trip on the day of the first funerals, with burials scheduled to continue through Friday, Mayor William Peduto told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Peduto said he wants the focus to be on families of victims. Law enforcement will be stretched by the funerals and their processions, continuing security at the site of the Saturday shooting and at other Jewish institutions, he said.
“We did try to get the message out to the White House that our priority tomorrow is the first funeral,” Peduto said Monday night.
“I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on the families this week, and if he (Trump) were to visit, choose a different time to be able to do it,” the mayor said. “Our focus as a city will be on the families and the outreach that they’ll need this week and the support that they’ll need to get through it.”
Peduto says when the city has buried the victims, “I think there’s the opportunity for presidential visits.”
Pittsburgh synagogue gunman said he wanted all Jews to die, criminal complaint says

Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life who grew up and still lives in Squirrel Hill, echoed Peduto.
“I would just ask the President please, please if it’s not too late put it off a week,” Diamond told CNN’s Don Lemon.
“Any president that would come in, any president would be a distraction. And President Trump, he’s so divisive and there’s such strong feelings on all sides, it will be a distraction,” Diamond said.
A spokeswoman for Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald declined to comment Monday on the President’s visit.
“Mr. Fitzgerald is not issuing any statement on the President’s visit. He is supporting the families and whatever they wish,” spokeswoman Amie Downs said.
Sanders said the President wants to travel to Pittsburgh to show support. She said the Tree of Life’s rabbi “said that he is welcome.”
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at Tree of Life on Saturday when the shooting occurred, told CNN: “The President of the United States is always welcome.
“I’m a citizen. He’s my president. He is certainly welcome,” Myers said.
A rabbi says he first thought gunfire was the sound of a fallen metal coat rack. Then he saw people running.

A rabbi says he first thought gunfire was the sound of a fallen metal coat rack. Then he saw people running.

A group of Jewish activists in Pittsburgh told the President in an open letter that his words and policies over the past three years “have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement,” and that he is not welcome until he “fully (denounces) white nationalism.”
Shooting suspect Robert Bowers, a resident of suburban Baldwin, faces at least 29 federal charges, including 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, plus 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder.
He could face the death penalty, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
During a brief federal court hearing Monday, Bowers spoke only to answer questions from the judge. He is being held without bond, and is expected back in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday morning.
For Trump, the role of consoler has sometimes come uneasily and, in his view, without tangible benefit. Trump has complained in the past that so-called “presidential” moments have gone unnoticed by his critics and unheralded in the media, leading him to wonder what the point of it all was.
This weekend, after Trump forcefully decried anti-Semitism during campaign appearances, he again protested to confidantes that the message wasn’t received with praise, according to people familiar with the conversations. Along with many of his aides, he viewed the continued questions about his divisive rhetoric as petty partisan attacks launched by his political opponents.
The Pittsburgh killings targeted Jews — and America's soul

Still, after discussions with advisers that included daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are Jewish, Trump declared his intent to visit Pittsburgh. The trip comes amid a last-minute midterm campaign push and has forestalled, for now, a planned address on immigration.
Trump has expressed concern his midterm messaging could be knocked off-kilter by the attack. Pittsburgh’s mayor called on Monday for Trump to wait to visit until after burials are complete, but with an 11-rally itinerary set for the end of the week, there was little flexibility in the President’s schedule.
His daughter and Kushner, will join Trump in Pittsburgh, along with first lady Melania Trump, who has sometimes worked with mixed results to soften her husband’s public image. He is expected to meet with some members of the Tree of Life congregation, who lost 11 members when a gunman opened fire inside the synagogue on Saturday morning.

More grievance than grief

In the wake of the slaying at the Pittsburgh synagogue, Trump has demonstrated more grievance than grief. Those grievances, once again, are rooted in how he innately believes he is being mistreated by the media. For days, he’s been complaining openly to allies and aides that he doesn’t believe he’s been given sufficient credit for his early comments denouncing the shooting.
But those comments were quickly overtaken by more inflammatory tweets from the President. Trump chose to use his bully pulpit on Monday by attacking the media — not by calling out the anti-Semitic views of the gunman.
“There is great anger in our country caused in part by inaccurate and even fraudulent reporting of the news,” Trump tweeted Monday, again calling the media “the true enemy of the people.”
Those very public words help explain Trump’s mindset, according to people who have spoken to him, who say his fury is out in the open for all to see.
Trump has said repeatedly he’s committed to helping the nation heal its deep political schisms. Yet he’s refused to acknowledge the role his own speech has played in the national divide.
At the first White House briefing in 26 days, press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the President on Monday and insisted he was being treated unfairly. She also repeatedly maintained that Trump was elected by an overwhelming majority of Americans, not saying he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes.
That is a window into Trump reality — how he sees things takes precedence over what actually happened.
The President also believes the pipe bomber, along with the synagogue mass shooting, is slowing Republican momentum in the final week of the midterm election campaign. That is one of the reasons, aides said, he is making an unprecedented investment for a sitting president: 11 rallies in six days.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s a midterm election or not, the President’s going to fight back,” Sanders said. “The President is going to defend himself.”

Rhetorical links

The massacre widened a national debate over the President’s divisive style started earlier in the week, when a fervent Trump supporter sent pipe bombs through the mail to people the President criticized. The angry and at times violent messages Trump espouses on his Twitter feed and during his campaign rallies led to accusations he was fomenting those impulses in his followers.
It’s an accusation that has infuriated the President, causing him to lash out in ways that only hardened the view that his words are mismatched for a somber national moment.
Even aides who, in the past, have privately pushed back when Trump labels the news media the “enemy of the people” have this week agreed with his sentiments, arguing that no matter what the President does, the mainstream press won’t be satisfied.
That’s led to a new level of combativeness, even as the country reels from hate attacks. And it’s negated the President’s weekend attempts at reconciliation, which were swiftly followed by rote political attacks and grievance-filled rants.
“You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country,” Sanders said. “He got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans, who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted. He’s delivered on that. He’s delivered on the promises he’s made.
“If anything, I think it is sad and divisive, the way that every single thing that comes out of the media — 90% of what comes out of the media’s mouth — is negative about this president,” she said, her tone having shifted from a tearful response to the Pittsburgh shooting to indignant criticism of the assembled reporters.
She discarded concerns at the President’s plans to continue politicking ahead of the midterm elections, despite the fraught national moment.
“The President is going to continue to draw contrasts, particularly as we go into the final days of an election, the differences between the two parties, particularly on policy differences,” she said.
The disconnect between Trump’s rhetorical style and the traditional parameters of his job isn’t mere coincidence. He ran vowing to dispense with the politically correct restraints of the past and has upheld that promise steadfastly. Even in moments of mourning, the President has downplayed the role a president can play in providing the country a moral or emotional grounding.

‘He’s my President’

In Pittsburgh, some progressive Jewish leaders have encouraged the President to stay home. In an open letter to the President, members of the city’s “Bend the Arc” organization wrote that his words and policies over the past three years “have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement,” and that he is not welcome until he “fully (denounces) white nationalism.”
But Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading services at Tree of Life during Saturday’s shooting, said that “the President of the United States is always welcome.”
“I’m a citizen. He’s my President. He is certainly welcome,” he said.
When Trump has met with victims’ families after mass shootings or natural disasters in the past, he has has conveyed a style of empathy that can sometimes feel stilted, particularly when compared to the freewheeling style he employs in most settings. He has yet to deliver a eulogy at a memorial service honoring the memories of Americans slain in gun violence or other attacks.
When Trump met with family members of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting earlier this year, he was photographed clutching a notecard with handwritten prompts like “I hear you” and “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” — a signal, at minimum, that some aides worried the usual signals of empathy may not come easily to him.
The White House on Monday insisted the President had demonstrated the required compassion during trying times.
“This is a President who has risen to that occasion and works to bring our country together in a number of occasions, whether it’s the hurricanes, whether it’s the Las Vegas shooting, whether it was the Pittsburgh shooting,” Sanders said.
Already, some Republicans have expressed concern that Trump’s antagonistic campaign style will be aired on a split screen with expected funerals for shooting victims later this week. Trump plans an aggressive schedule of rallies ahead of next week’s vote.
Trump, meanwhile, has fretted that coverage of the mail bombings could distract from his midterm closing argument, which was built on dire warnings of a group of migrants seeking entry into the United States. Originally, Trump planned a major address on immigration this week, including the signing of a presidential proclamation that would prevent most, if not all, members of the group of migrants in Mexico heading toward the US from crossing the border.
There are now discussions in the White House about delaying the planned immigration moves, a step that would be sure to frustrate Trump, who complained last week that the pipe bomb attempts distracted from an announcement on lowering drug prices.
A CNN analysis of the demography of the most competitive districts in the House of Representatives, almost all of which are now held by Republicans, shows that the outcome in 2018 appears poised to reinforce the divides familiar from Trump’s election in 2016.
Democrats’ top opportunities to capture Republican-held seats are concentrated in well-educated, higher-income and preponderantly white districts. Most of these seats are centered on economically thriving suburbs around major metropolitan areas where Trump faces widespread resistance among white-collar voters, especially women, on cultural and personal grounds.
With only a few exceptions, Democrats face more uncertain prospects in Republican-held House seats centered on the blue-collar, exurban and rural communities where Trump remains popular, the analysis found. Of the 43 Republican-held seats that CNN considers leaning toward the Democrats or toss-ups, only nine are in districts where the white population exceeds the national average and the share of residents with college degrees lags the national average.
This stark divergence carries several clear implications, both for election night and beyond.

The trench dividing America

Most immediately, it means that Democrats, while still favored by most analysts to win control of the House, are operating with relatively little room for error because they are trying to gain the 23 seats they need predominantly on one part of the playing field: well-educated suburban seats. Even if they do reach a majority next week, its likely the Democratic hold on the House will be precarious and very slim unless they can also capture a respectable number of the small-town and blue-collar seats now considered toss-ups.
There are absolutely two Americas. Sometimes in the same state.

The longer-term implication is that this election now seems highly likely to widen the trench between a Democratic Party that increasingly controls the major metropolitan areas largely skeptical of Trump and a GOP whose dominance is barely dented in the rural and exurban areas where he remains strong.
Already, the CNN analysis shows, about two-thirds of House Republicans represent districts where the education level lags the national average and nearly three-fifths hold seats where the median income is lower as well. By contrast, about 53% of Democrats hold seats where the education level and median income exceed the national average. If Democratic gains next month are concentrated mostly in white-collar seats, the Republican caucus will tilt ever further toward lower-education and modest-income seats while the Democrats will bend further toward the opposite — expanding the distance between the two sides and making compromise between them even more difficult.
That geographic divergence represents the stark separation in demographic responses to Trump’s tumultuous presidency, with minorities, millennials and college-educated whites, especially women, recoiling from him in large numbers and blue-collar, older and evangelical whites providing him robust, even record, levels of support.

Not a wave, a realignment

In an NPR/Marist Poll released late last week, for instance, Democrats led on the “generic” ballot for Congress by 76 percentage points among African-Americans, 42 among Latinos, 35 among 18- to 29-year-olds and 9 among whites holding at least four-year college degrees. Republicans led by 56 percentage points among white evangelical Christians, 28 among rural residents and 21 among whites with less than four-year college degrees. College-educated white women preferred Democrats by 18 percentage points; non-college white men backed Republicans by 33 points.
“It’s part of the sorting of the parties more by demographic characteristics, education being a very important one,” says Gary C. Jacobson, a professor of political science emeritus at the University of California at San Diego who specializes in Congress. “The whole story of this election is Trump and how he affects voters. He clearly has driven away educated voters, especially educated women, with his style. Rural people, blue-collar people, don’t mind it so much. They cut him some slack because they think he is on their side.”
Similarly, longtime Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg argues that those debating whether this election will produce a Democratic “wave” are analyzing it through the wrong lens. It’s more likely, he says, that this election, punctuated by unusually high turnout, produces a realignment in which the groups alienated from Trump — led by college white women, minorities and millennials — consolidate around Democrats just as the groups that favor him, such as blue-collar and evangelical whites, consolidated behind Trump in 2016.
“I think he got his realignment … but now we are seeing the reaction to that,” Greenberg said.
To analyze the House battlefield CNN senior political producer Aaron Kessler used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey five-year average to create a demographic profile of each House district. Each district was measured on whether it ranked above or below the national average across a series of key characteristics, including education and income levels, the share of the population that is nonwhite and the median age.
Then we compared those results with the latest CNN ranking of the 96 House districts considered most likely to switch parties (that includes 95 seats described as toss-up, lean or likely toward either party, and one Republican-held seat now considered “solid” for Democrats). That analysis produced several distinct patterns.

Democrats are best-positioned in wealthier, more educated districts that didn’t like Trump in 2016

The most striking is the concentration of the Democrats’ very best chances in relatively affluent and well-educated districts. CNN rates 14 seats now held by Republicans as solid, likely or leaning toward the Democrats next week. The median income exceeds the national average of $55,322 in all of those except the Tucson-area seat being vacated by Arizona Republican Martha McSally (who’s running for the Senate), where former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is a strong favorite.
The share of adults with college degrees exceeds the national average of about 30.3% in all of them except the New Jersey seat left open by retiring Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo (where Democrat Jeff Van Drew is highly favored because Republicans nominated a fringe candidate who has expressed racist sentiments) and the northeast Iowa seat where Democrat Abby Finkenauer is mounting a strong challenge to Rep. Rod Blum.
There's a suburban tsunami driving 2018

There's a suburban tsunami driving 2018

The other seats leaning toward Democrats that currently are held by Republicans are all in districts that are relatively better educated and affluent. They include Rep. Mike Coffman’s suburban Denver seat, Barbara Comstock’s seat in Northern Virginia, the suburban Minneapolis districts of Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis and other open seats in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Orange County, California.
Of these 14 GOP districts that CNN classifies as most likely to flip, eight of them voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Trump won each of the others by 5 points or fewer.
Beyond these 14 Republican-held seats that CNN rates as leaning to the Democrats, control of the House will likely be decided in 29 more GOP-held seats CNN classifies as toss-ups.
These also lean toward better-educated and more affluent districts, though not as lopsidedly as the Democrats’ best chances. Of the 29 Republican-held districts considered toss-ups, 18 exceed the average median income and 17 exceed the average education level. In 2016, Clinton carried 13 of these 29 Republican toss-up districts.
In all, that means of the 43 Republican-held seats that CNN considers at greatest risk of falling to the Democrats, 31 (or nearly three-fourths) exceed the median income, while 29 (or just over two-thirds) exceed the average education level.
The Republican-held toss-up seats divide into two sharply delineated categories. The largest group generally resembles the affluent, well-educated suburban GOP seats where the Democrats’ best chances are concentrated. These include open seats outside Seattle; Charlotte, North Carolina; and in Orange County, California; and challenges to Republican incumbents Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher also in Orange County; Dave Brat in Richmond, Virginia; Peter Roskam outside Chicago; Mike Bishop near Detroit; Leonard Lance in New Jersey; Brian Fitzpatrick near Philadelphia; John Culberson near Houston; David Young near Des Moines, Iowa; Kevin Yoder outside Kansas City, Missouri; and a rematch between Republican Rep. Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor after Balderson narrowly won last summer’s closely watched special election for a district around Columbus, Ohio.
Many of the remaining GOP-held seats CNN rates as toss-ups will test the Democrats’ ability to make gains on Trump’s strongest ground: mostly white, heavily blue-collar areas. These include challenges to Republican incumbents Bruce Poliquin in Maine, John Faso and Claudia Tenney in New York, Mike Bost in Illinois, Scott Taylor in Virginia and an open seat in Kansas.
The toss-up seats also mark the first battlegrounds where the Democratic advantages among minority voters may meaningfully affect the battle for House control.

The most competitive districts are more white than the national average

One of the most striking aspects of the 2018 landscape is how few of the highly contested seats contain large numbers of nonwhite voters. Of the 14 Republican-held seats that CNN rates as tilting toward Democrats, the minority share of the population exceeds the national average of about 38% in just the Southern California open seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Darrell Issa.
In the 29 Republican-held toss-up seats, minorities exceed their national share of the population in just 11. Those seats are entirely situated across the Sun Belt: challenges to Republican incumbents Walters, Jeff Denham, Steve Knight and Rohrabacher in California; Carlos Curbelo in Miami; Culberson in Houston; and open seats in California, Florida, New Mexico and North Carolina.
The relative shortage of competitive seats with substantial minority populations underscores the structural hurdle Democrats face in the House from the concentration of nonwhite voters inside large metropolitan areas where the party is already strong. Already, about two-thirds of the seats Democrats currently hold have more minority voters than the national average, while fully four-fifths of the GOP-held seats are more white than the national average.
Compounding the Democrats’ challenge this year, Hispanics represent the largest minority population in almost all the competitive Republican-held districts (North Carolina excepted) and Democrats remain concerned that turnout among them won’t be nearly as high as they have hoped after all the provocations from Trump.

The battlegrounds are also older than the rest of the country

The nature of the House battlefield also dilutes another Democratic advantage: the party’s edge among younger voters, particularly in the Trump era.
The NPR/Marist Poll released late last week, for instance, found that exactly two-thirds of those ages 18 to 29 disapproved of Trump’s performance, and nearly as many indicated they intend to vote for Democrats. But the CNN demographic analysis found that the median age exceeds the national level (almost 38 years of age) in 30 of the 43 Republican-held districts rated as toss-ups or better for the Democrats.
That’s a stark contrast with the House districts Democrats now hold, almost three-fifths of which are younger than the national average, largely because of the party’s reliance on minority-centered districts with many children and young adults. (Three-fifths of current Republican seats are older than the national average.)
“Democrats have a serious structural problem in where these people are located,” notes Jacobson. “Gerrymandering is a small part of the story; it is much more where people choose to live. If you look at Democratic demographics, African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, gay people, they all hang out in cities. They are attracted to big metropolitan areas.”
Democrats' hopes of winning in the South hinge on the suburbs

Democrats' hopes of winning in the South hinge on the suburbs

The remaining two tiers of Republican-held seats at the periphery of the Democrats’ target list would require the party to push even further into blue-collar and Trump-friendly territory.
CNN rates 20 Republican-held seats as leaning toward the GOP, which means they are competitive but Republicans are favored to hold them. Of these, 16 have fewer minorities than average, 13 are older than average, 10 are below the average education level and nine lag the median income. In 2016, Trump carried all but two of these districts (the seats near San Antonio and Dallas held by Reps. Will Hurd and Pete Sessions, respectively).
CNN classifies another 25 Republican-held seats as likely Republican, meaning that they are still potentially competitive but are considered long-shot chances for Democrats. Of these, 20 have fewer minorities than average, 18 are older than the national average, 15 lag the average education level and 14 trail the national median income. Trump won all of them except the two held by Republicans David Valadao in California’s Central Valley and John Katko in upstate New York.
Still, for all these obstacles, the history of big midterm elections — like 1994, 2006 and 2010 — is that the party out of the White House usually wins some seats that had largely been considered safe. That’s often because the incumbent takes the contest much less seriously than their counterparts in the toss-up districts. Republican Rep. Rob Woodall’s seat in Georgia’s Atlanta suburbs, now classified as likely Republican but drawing late interest from both sides, is one that could fit that description this year. Late Republican ad buys in unexpected seats, such as a district in South Carolina, raise that possibility too.
The only Democratic-held seats that CNN rates as toss-up or better for the GOP are two open seats in Minnesota: Both districts are older, more white and less educated than the national average. Six other Democratic-held seats are considered competitive but leaning or likely for the party to hold: Of these, four are above the national average in diversity, and four are below the average median income. Four are better-educated than the average.
All these patterns point toward the same conclusion: Democrats can likely win back the House, albeit with little margin for error, primarily by exploiting white-collar unease with Trump. But to generate big gains, they will also need to overcome the formidable defenses that Trump and the GOP have built beyond the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
Four rounds crashed through the glass storefront of the office in Volusia County late Sunday night or early Monday, Sgt. Bryan Craig of the South Daytona Police Department said. No one was inside at the time.
There is no surveillance video and no shell casings were recovered, but investigators did recover one projectile, Craig said.
Two bullets shattered a large plate glass window, before lodging in walls, CNN affiliate WESH reported. The other bullets went through a smaller window, the network reported.
Staff arriving Monday morning initially thought something had been thrown through the windows.
“We live in a free society and we should fight our battles on November 6,” Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Volusia County Republican Party, told WESH. “If you’ve got issues with us show up on November 6 and vote. Vote us out or vote us in — it makes me mad that somebody would to this.”
Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Blaise Ingoglia condemned the attack, saying “violence is never the answer, under any circumstance.”
This is the logical conclusion of our poisonous political environment

“It’s unbelievable to me that we have reached a low in political discourse where volunteers for campaigns now (have) to fear for their safety,” he said. “We stand against any type of violence against any volunteer, Republican or Democrat. People should have the right to exercise their right of free speech without fear of retaliation.”
Ingoglia praised law enforcement’s quick response and said the party would continue to make efforts to ensure its staff and volunteers felt safe and secure in its offices.
Craig said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had reached out to South Daytona Police and the investigation into the incident was ongoing.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against political violence over the past week after a series of pipe bombs were sent to leading Democrats.
The attempted attacks prompted calls by some for divisive political rhetoric to be toned down.
Programming note:Amanpour’s interview with Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle will air Tuesday on CNN International at 2 p.m. ET, and on PBS at 11 p.m. ET.
“Even when they say that Russia influenced the election,” Chappelle said, “it’s kind of like, is Russia making us racist? Is that who’s doing it? Oh OK, oh my God, thank goodness — I thought it was us.”
“If they killed the country that way then we’re the murder weapon,” he joked.
In an exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour for her program on CNN International and PBS, Chappelle said President Trump gets “too much credit” for defining the era.
“He’s not making the wave, he’s surfing it.”
Christiane Amanpour interviews Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart.

The ‘right thing at the right time’

Just days after Election Day 2016, Chappelle delivered “Saturday Night Live’s” opening monologue.
“I’m going to give him a chance,” he said at the time. “And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one, too.”
It was the “right thing at the right time” to say, he now opines.
“I’m a black American, so we’ve — these feelings that people felt right after the election, we’ve felt them, many elections consecutively. And to some degree, people overreacted. The alternative to giving him a chance was storming the street.”
But two years on from that olive branch, the comedian spoke with less optimism.
“Is he doing a good job? Am I happy with what he’s doing? No, it’s been very difficult to watch the last couple of years.”
After an impromptu joint show last year on the day of a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the two comics have teamed up for a global comedy tour tackling some of America’s darkest challenges, including gun violence and the opioid crisis.
Stewart, too, said “there was a part of me” that hoped being in the White House would transform the person Trump had been as a candidate.
In reality, he now says, “I imagine he walked in that room — he’s like, ‘Take that down, take that down, put up dogs playing poker. Can a fellow get some French fries around here?'”
“Oddly enough, he transformed the White House, and the White House wasn’t able to transform him.”

Trump versus the press

Stewart did not reserve his criticism solely for the President. Pointing fingers at the press, the former “Daily Show” host lamented the ongoing clashes between the White House and the media, arguing that reporting on their own war of words with the White House distracts Americans from the damaging consequences of his policies.
“I’m less interested in his insults and more interested in his injuries — in the people that are being hurt, not the people that are being insulted,” Stewart said.
“They are personally offended and wounded by this man. He baits them and they dive in.”
A CNN analysis of the demography of the most competitive districts in the House of Representatives, almost all of which are now held by Republicans, shows that the outcome in 2018 appears poised to reinforce the divides familiar from Trump’s election in 2016.
Democrats’ top opportunities to capture Republican-held seats are concentrated in well-educated, higher-income and preponderantly white districts. Most of these seats are centered on economically thriving suburbs around major metropolitan areas where Trump faces widespread resistance among white-collar voters, especially women, on cultural and personal grounds.
With only a few exceptions, Democrats face more uncertain prospects in Republican-held House seats centered on the blue-collar, exurban and rural communities where Trump remains popular, the analysis found. Of the 43 Republican-held seats that CNN considers leaning toward the Democrats or toss-ups, only nine are in districts where the white population exceeds the national average and the share of residents with college degrees lags the national average.
This stark divergence carries several clear implications, both for election night and beyond.

The trench dividing America

Most immediately, it means that Democrats, while still favored by most analysts to win control of the House, are operating with relatively little room for error because they are trying to gain the 23 seats they need predominantly on one part of the playing field: well-educated suburban seats. Even if they do reach a majority next week, its likely the Democratic hold on the House will be precarious and very slim unless they can also capture a respectable number of the small-town and blue-collar seats now considered toss-ups.
There are absolutely two Americas. Sometimes in the same state.

The longer-term implication is that this election now seems highly likely to widen the trench between a Democratic Party that increasingly controls the major metropolitan areas largely skeptical of Trump and a GOP whose dominance is barely dented in the rural and exurban areas where he remains strong.
Already, the CNN analysis shows, about two-thirds of House Republicans represent districts where the education level lags the national average and nearly three-fifths hold seats where the median income is lower as well. By contrast, about 53% of Democrats hold seats where the education level and median income exceed the national average. If Democratic gains next month are concentrated mostly in white-collar seats, the Republican caucus will tilt ever further toward lower-education and modest-income seats while the Democrats will bend further toward the opposite — expanding the distance between the two sides and making compromise between them even more difficult.
That geographic divergence represents the stark separation in demographic responses to Trump’s tumultuous presidency, with minorities, millennials and college-educated whites, especially women, recoiling from him in large numbers and blue-collar, older and evangelical whites providing him robust, even record, levels of support.

Not a wave, a realignment

In an NPR/Marist Poll released late last week, for instance, Democrats led on the “generic” ballot for Congress by 76 percentage points among African-Americans, 42 among Latinos, 35 among 18- to 29-year-olds and 9 among whites holding at least four-year college degrees. Republicans led by 56 percentage points among white evangelical Christians, 28 among rural residents and 21 among whites with less than four-year college degrees. College-educated white women preferred Democrats by 18 percentage points; non-college white men backed Republicans by 33 points.
“It’s part of the sorting of the parties more by demographic characteristics, education being a very important one,” says Gary C. Jacobson, a professor of political science emeritus at the University of California at San Diego who specializes in Congress. “The whole story of this election is Trump and how he affects voters. He clearly has driven away educated voters, especially educated women, with his style. Rural people, blue-collar people, don’t mind it so much. They cut him some slack because they think he is on their side.”
Similarly, longtime Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg argues that those debating whether this election will produce a Democratic “wave” are analyzing it through the wrong lens. It’s more likely, he says, that this election, punctuated by unusually high turnout, produces a realignment in which the groups alienated from Trump — led by college white women, minorities and millennials — consolidate around Democrats just as the groups that favor him, such as blue-collar and evangelical whites, consolidated behind Trump in 2016.
“I think he got his realignment … but now we are seeing the reaction to that,” Greenberg said.
To analyze the House battlefield CNN senior political producer Aaron Kessler used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey five-year average to create a demographic profile of each House district. Each district was measured on whether it ranked above or below the national average across a series of key characteristics, including education and income levels, the share of the population that is nonwhite and the median age.
Then we compared those results with the latest CNN ranking of the 96 House districts considered most likely to switch parties (that includes 95 seats described as toss-up, lean or likely toward either party, and one Republican-held seat now considered “solid” for Democrats). That analysis produced several distinct patterns.

Democrats are best-positioned in wealthier, more educated districts that didn’t like Trump in 2016

The most striking is the concentration of the Democrats’ very best chances in relatively affluent and well-educated districts. CNN rates 14 seats now held by Republicans as solid, likely or leaning toward the Democrats next week. The median income exceeds the national average of $55,322 in all of those except the Tucson-area seat being vacated by Arizona Republican Martha McSally (who’s running for the Senate), where former Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is a strong favorite.
The share of adults with college degrees exceeds the national average of about 30.3% in all of them except the New Jersey seat left open by retiring Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo (where Democrat Jeff Van Drew is highly favored because Republicans nominated a fringe candidate who has expressed racist sentiments) and the northeast Iowa seat where Democrat Abby Finkenauer is mounting a strong challenge to Rep. Rod Blum.
There's a suburban tsunami driving 2018

There's a suburban tsunami driving 2018

The other seats leaning toward Democrats that currently are held by Republicans are all in districts that are relatively better educated and affluent. They include Rep. Mike Coffman’s suburban Denver seat, Barbara Comstock’s seat in Northern Virginia, the suburban Minneapolis districts of Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis and other open seats in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Orange County, California.
Of these 14 GOP districts that CNN classifies as most likely to flip, eight of them voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Trump won each of the others by 5 points or fewer.
Beyond these 14 Republican-held seats that CNN rates as leaning to the Democrats, control of the House will likely be decided in 29 more GOP-held seats CNN classifies as toss-ups.
These also lean toward better-educated and more affluent districts, though not as lopsidedly as the Democrats’ best chances. Of the 29 Republican-held districts considered toss-ups, 18 exceed the average median income and 17 exceed the average education level. In 2016, Clinton carried 13 of these 29 Republican toss-up districts.
In all, that means of the 43 Republican-held seats that CNN considers at greatest risk of falling to the Democrats, 31 (or nearly three-fourths) exceed the median income, while 29 (or just over two-thirds) exceed the average education level.
The Republican-held toss-up seats divide into two sharply delineated categories. The largest group generally resembles the affluent, well-educated suburban GOP seats where the Democrats’ best chances are concentrated. These include open seats outside Seattle; Charlotte, North Carolina; and in Orange County, California; and challenges to Republican incumbents Mimi Walters and Dana Rohrabacher also in Orange County; Dave Brat in Richmond, Virginia; Peter Roskam outside Chicago; Mike Bishop near Detroit; Leonard Lance in New Jersey; Brian Fitzpatrick near Philadelphia; John Culberson near Houston; David Young near Des Moines, Iowa; Kevin Yoder outside Kansas City, Missouri; and a rematch between Republican Rep. Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor after Balderson narrowly won last summer’s closely watched special election for a district around Columbus, Ohio.
Many of the remaining GOP-held seats CNN rates as toss-ups will test the Democrats’ ability to make gains on Trump’s strongest ground: mostly white, heavily blue-collar areas. These include challenges to Republican incumbents Bruce Poliquin in Maine, John Faso and Claudia Tenney in New York, Mike Bost in Illinois, Scott Taylor in Virginia and an open seat in Kansas.
The toss-up seats also mark the first battlegrounds where the Democratic advantages among minority voters may meaningfully affect the battle for House control.

The most competitive districts are more white than the national average

One of the most striking aspects of the 2018 landscape is how few of the highly contested seats contain large numbers of nonwhite voters. Of the 14 Republican-held seats that CNN rates as tilting toward Democrats, the minority share of the population exceeds the national average of about 38% in just the Southern California open seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Darrell Issa.
In the 29 Republican-held toss-up seats, minorities exceed their national share of the population in just 11. Those seats are entirely situated across the Sun Belt: challenges to Republican incumbents Walters, Jeff Denham, Steve Knight and Rohrabacher in California; Carlos Curbelo in Miami; Culberson in Houston; and open seats in California, Florida, New Mexico and North Carolina.
The relative shortage of competitive seats with substantial minority populations underscores the structural hurdle Democrats face in the House from the concentration of nonwhite voters inside large metropolitan areas where the party is already strong. Already, about two-thirds of the seats Democrats currently hold have more minority voters than the national average, while fully four-fifths of the GOP-held seats are more white than the national average.
Compounding the Democrats’ challenge this year, Hispanics represent the largest minority population in almost all the competitive Republican-held districts (North Carolina excepted) and Democrats remain concerned that turnout among them won’t be nearly as high as they have hoped after all the provocations from Trump.

The battlegrounds are also older than the rest of the country

The nature of the House battlefield also dilutes another Democratic advantage: the party’s edge among younger voters, particularly in the Trump era.
The NPR/Marist Poll released late last week, for instance, found that exactly two-thirds of those ages 18 to 29 disapproved of Trump’s performance, and nearly as many indicated they intend to vote for Democrats. But the CNN demographic analysis found that the median age exceeds the national level (almost 38 years of age) in 30 of the 43 Republican-held districts rated as toss-ups or better for the Democrats.
That’s a stark contrast with the House districts Democrats now hold, almost three-fifths of which are younger than the national average, largely because of the party’s reliance on minority-centered districts with many children and young adults. (Three-fifths of current Republican seats are older than the national average.)
“Democrats have a serious structural problem in where these people are located,” notes Jacobson. “Gerrymandering is a small part of the story; it is much more where people choose to live. If you look at Democratic demographics, African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, gay people, they all hang out in cities. They are attracted to big metropolitan areas.”
Democrats' hopes of winning in the South hinge on the suburbs

Democrats' hopes of winning in the South hinge on the suburbs

The remaining two tiers of Republican-held seats at the periphery of the Democrats’ target list would require the party to push even further into blue-collar and Trump-friendly territory.
CNN rates 20 Republican-held seats as leaning toward the GOP, which means they are competitive but Republicans are favored to hold them. Of these, 16 have fewer minorities than average, 13 are older than average, 10 are below the average education level and nine lag the median income. In 2016, Trump carried all but two of these districts (the seats near San Antonio and Dallas held by Reps. Will Hurd and Pete Sessions, respectively).
CNN classifies another 25 Republican-held seats as likely Republican, meaning that they are still potentially competitive but are considered long-shot chances for Democrats. Of these, 20 have fewer minorities than average, 18 are older than the national average, 15 lag the average education level and 14 trail the national median income. Trump won all of them except the two held by Republicans David Valadao in California’s Central Valley and John Katko in upstate New York.
Still, for all these obstacles, the history of big midterm elections — like 1994, 2006 and 2010 — is that the party out of the White House usually wins some seats that had largely been considered safe. That’s often because the incumbent takes the contest much less seriously than their counterparts in the toss-up districts. Republican Rep. Rob Woodall’s seat in Georgia’s Atlanta suburbs, now classified as likely Republican but drawing late interest from both sides, is one that could fit that description this year. Late Republican ad buys in unexpected seats, such as a district in South Carolina, raise that possibility too.
The only Democratic-held seats that CNN rates as toss-up or better for the GOP are two open seats in Minnesota: Both districts are older, more white and less educated than the national average. Six other Democratic-held seats are considered competitive but leaning or likely for the party to hold: Of these, four are above the national average in diversity, and four are below the average median income. Four are better-educated than the average.
All these patterns point toward the same conclusion: Democrats can likely win back the House, albeit with little margin for error, primarily by exploiting white-collar unease with Trump. But to generate big gains, they will also need to overcome the formidable defenses that Trump and the GOP have built beyond the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
Undeterred by the string of deadly horrors that might have paused another president in campaign mode, Trump is stumping relentlessly in a late push to save the GOP House and Senate majorities, using rallies and Twitter to stoke fear over a group of migrants nearly 1,000 miles from the US border while boosting false claims from Republican candidates about their efforts to tear up one of Obamacare’s most popular features.
Trump will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to show support for the community after a gunman killed 11 congregants at a synagogue in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history. On Wednesday, he kicks of a swing of 11 rallies in six days.
Operatives in both parties and nonpartisan analysts have coalesced around a view that Republicans appear likely to benefit from a favorable map and keep control of the Senate, perhaps even padding their majority. But the GOP’s grip on the House is slipping. After two years of unified Republican rule, the Democratic Party’s base is rallying around a crop of first time candidates and now has a variety of potential paths to winning the 23 seats they need to regain a measure of control on Capitol Hill.
Trump has said that he shouldn’t be blamed for a Republican midterm wipeout, but his travel schedule this week — and the $22 million in transfers his re-election campaign has made to the Republican National Committee this cycle — suggests he knows better. That even beyond pride, he has a lot to lose on Election Day. A “blue wave” on November 6 would immediately sink Trump’s more ambitious political plans while exposing his administration to the kind of oversight Republican lawmakers have largely forsaken.
“I’m not on the ticket, but I am on the ticket because this is also a referendum about me,” Trump said at a rally earlier this month in Mississippi. “I want you to vote. Pretend I’m on the ballot.”

Republicans triage in House races

Democratic House candidates are entering the stretch run with momentum — in the polls and the bank. Fundraising numbers, especially from small dollar donors, are through the roof. Grassroots liberal groups are organizing new and increasingly sophisticated mass voter drives. From the House to the governor’s mansions in Florida and Georgia, offices held for a generation by Republicans are now considered either toss-ups or leaning in favor of Democratic challengers. GOP campaign arms are using the last few days before the election to shore up or rescue those old strongholds, while Democrats are pressing their advantage in places like Orange County, California, a series of suburban districts around Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, and a trio of flippable Iowa congressional districts.
Outside Richmond in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which Trump won by more than six percentage points in 2016, the Tea Party representative who ousted former House Republican majority leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary is now stuck in a dead heat with Democrat Abigail Spanberger. Rep. Dave Brat, who was on the short end of one the season’s most viral moments when Spanberger lashed out at him at the end of a debate for misleading voters about her positions, has been outraised by the former CIA operative by a 2-to-1 margin.
And Brat might be one of the lucky ones.
He still has the backing of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the outside group aligned with retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan. But both the CLF and the National Republican Congressional Committee are in triage mode as Election Day nears. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Pennsylvania Rep. Keith Rothfus, Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder are among a growing collection of Republicans who have been discussed as lost causes — an acknowledgment from national GOP leaders that there are some seats the party cannot hold.
Where Donald Trump is going in the last week of the 2018 campaign -- and why

But the Democrats are not without headaches of their own, particularly in the battle for Senate control. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, whose popularity took a hit even after the corruption charges against him were dismissed in January, is now clinging to a narrower-than-expected lead in the polls over big-spending Republican challenger Bob Hugin. National Democrats are now sinking millions of dollars into a race that should have been a given — money that might have otherwise been earmarked for endangered incumbents in states Trump didn’t lose by 14 percentage points in 2016.
Red states like North Dakota, where incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has consistently trailed her Republican opponent in polling. But also in closer contests, where Democrats like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly are trying to cut against the grain and win over voters who broke decisively for Trump in 2016. Republicans have made those senators’ no votes against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a major issue in the final weeks of the campaign in hopes of ginning up their base.
If Democrats fail to take control of the Senate, any Supreme Court vacancy in 2019 or 2020 would likely be filled by Trump.

Trump’s closing message

As varied as the campaigns and candidates may be, nearly all of the most competitive races of 2018 have been linked by a common thread: Democratic pledges to expand health care coverage and protect popular programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while putting a check on Trump’s power.
The GOP message has been more varied but has mostly followed the President’s lead: a smorgasbord of fear-mongering over immigration; outright lies or misdirection when it comes to the party’s efforts to endanger protections for people with pre-existing conditions as part of their push to unwind Obamacare; and more general warnings that Democratic victories in November would empower a liberal “mob.” With seven days to go and Trump planning nearly a dozen rallies in that time, the list still has room to grow.
The Republicans’ scattershot approach was on full display Monday morning, as Trump veered from an attack on the media, calling an African American Democratic candidate a “thief” and continuing an escalating barrage of inciting claims about “the caravan” — a group of migrants whose movements have become a catch-all for his anti-immigrant messaging.
“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!,” he tweeted.
Trump is also reportedly considering a speech on immigration this week to further gin up his base — and drive them to the polls. And just days ahead of the elections, Trump ordered 5,200 troops and some military equipment to the southern border to, ostensibly, confront a group of migrants still 900 miles and weeks away from the US.
Democrats, meanwhile, say Trump’s incendiary rhetoric could further alienate moderate Republicans — particularly women in the suburbs.
Republicans' health care strategy for the midterms: Fear and misdirection

Republicans' health care strategy for the midterms: Fear and misdirection

“Our President even tried to tie terrorists from the Middle East with the caravan. It’s like bringing up all of these buzzwords that stir up a frenzy in their base,” said Kim Schrier, the Democratic congressional candidate in Washington’s toss-up 8th District race — a contest where spending has topped $25 million — in an interview Sunday after a speech to dozens of her campaign’s volunteers in the suburbs of Seattle.
“We all teach our kids that we’re better than this,” Schrier said. “That kind of rhetoric is unacceptable, and I’m hoping it brings a lot of those people out, saying, ‘No. We don’t tolerate this divisiveness and whipping up a frenzy.'”
The prospect of a Democratic House majority putting a check on Trump, she said, has resonated with suburban Republican women.
“I think a lot of them voted somewhat reluctantly for our President and would like to see some brakes on the rhetoric,” Schrier said.
Trump will hit those nasty notes, live and in-person, at a series of rallies this week, which are currently scheduled for Florida, Missouri and West Virginia. Another stop, in Montana, could also be added to the itinerary.
His visit to Fort Myers, Florida, on Wednesday will mark his first time in the state since the arrest of Cesar Sayoc Jr., an ardent Trump supporter who allegedly targeted leading Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, former intelligence officials and the news media with a series of mail bombs.
The rally will feature gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, who’s in a tight race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. On Monday morning, Trump offered a preview of what’s in store for the week when he called Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democrat vying to become the state’s first African American governor, “a thief.” The comment sparked an instant backlash from Democrats, including billionaire donor Tom Steyer’s group, which described the attack as “another racist dog-whistle meant to stir up his base because he knows DeSantis is behind.” (Gillum led DeSantis by double-digits in a recent CNN poll.)
In October alone, Trump has visited 16 states — Tennessee, Mississippi, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Montana, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana and Illinois — for political rallies.
And even as Democrats have sought to localize many of the key races in 2018 by largely ignoring Trump in paid ads, a number of campaigns and state parties have brought in some of the party’s biggest national names to boost candidates in close or high-profile races make their closing arguments to voters.
In just the last weekend, around a dozen rumored 2020 Democratic presidential players made appearances in key states.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this weekend concluded a 9-day, 9-state swing in California. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been up and down the trail, stumping in New Hampshire this weekend while former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rallied Democrats in South Carolina. Former President Barack Obama headlined events in Wisconsin and Michigan on Friday, while former Vice President Joe Biden stumped with Democrats in Connecticut ahead of his first 2018 trip to Iowa on Tuesday. California Sen. Kamala Harris has been making the rounds in Florida.
“We cannot look up ten days from now and have any regrets about what we could have done,” Harris said to a group of Gillum supporters on Sunday. Someone interrupted her. She had the number wrong. Harris turned a wry smile and corrected herself: “I’m losing track,” she said. “See, that’s even fewer days to get out there!”
Four rounds crashed through the glass storefront of the office in Volusia County late Sunday night or early Monday, Sgt. Bryan Craig of the South Daytona Police Department said. No one was inside at the time.
There is no surveillance video and no shell casings were recovered, but investigators did recover one projectile, Craig said.
Two bullets shattered a large plate glass window, before lodging in walls, CNN affiliate WESH reported. The other bullets went through a smaller window, the network reported.
Staff arriving Monday morning initially thought something had been thrown through the windows.
“We live in a free society and we should fight our battles on November 6,” Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Volusia County Republican Party, told WESH. “If you’ve got issues with us show up on November 6 and vote. Vote us out or vote us in — it makes me mad that somebody would to this.”
Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Blaise Ingoglia condemned the attack, saying “violence is never the answer, under any circumstance.”
This is the logical conclusion of our poisonous political environment

“It’s unbelievable to me that we have reached a low in political discourse where volunteers for campaigns now (have) to fear for their safety,” he said. “We stand against any type of violence against any volunteer, Republican or Democrat. People should have the right to exercise their right of free speech without fear of retaliation.”
Ingoglia praised law enforcement’s quick response and said the party would continue to make efforts to ensure its staff and volunteers felt safe and secure in its offices.
Craig said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had reached out to South Daytona Police and the investigation into the incident was ongoing.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against political violence over the past week after a series of pipe bombs were sent to leading Democrats.
The attempted attacks prompted calls by some for divisive political rhetoric to be toned down.

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) campaign is trying to persuade voters that she is not “one of those crazy Democrats,” with a radio ad airing during the final stretch of her heated re-election fight. McCaskill later mentioned Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) when Fox News asked for names.